If there was such a thing as a sea of nostalgia, all the time I've spent remembering this week would have turned me into a human prune.
My girl turns six tomorrow. And apart from the constant thought "my baby is growing up, and it's happening too fast," I've spent most of my time reflecting on where we stand now.
A year ago, her words were so, so rare.
A year ago, I wasn't sure I'd ever see Emma play with another child.
A year ago, I was shuttling Em to speech and OT, using so much family leave time that I owed my company money at the end of the year.
A year ago, I couldn't envision the day where she'd be thisclose to dressing herself independently.
A year ago, thinking about her future made me bite my lip. Hard. The resources I knew she needed weren't available yet. The insurance issues looked fairly insurmountable. And the thought of kindergarten ... I tried not to think about kindergarten.
But that was a year ago. Now?
Now she's in a full-time ABA program, with therapists and program managers who cheer just as much at her progress as I do. I am not the only one who gets all teary when she does something amazing. She is in a place that makes that growth possible and then celebrates the heck out of it. (And speech and OT are part of that package. One integrated approach, with a team of people who work together to work with my daughter. All in the same facility.)
Now I've gotten to watch her acknowledge another child, using his name. I've seen her play a game with a peer, her dimples flashing as she laughs. She has programs designed to help her build those precious social skills. Now I start to believe that someday she might have friends.
Now she slides on her own pants. And her socks. And her shoes. (Not always in that order.) The day is coming where I'll be able to put an outfit on her bed and let that be my only contribution to getting her dressed. That'll be a good day.
And her words. The more words she gains, the more mine fail me. It's a gift that she's beginning to be able to boss me around. "I want fish." "All done; I go play." "Watch Nemo." I find it nearly impossible to say no to her, even when we've already watched Nemo 73 times.
I am in awe of the leaps and bounds forward. She works so hard. I can only hope that all the changes I see are as amazing to her as they are to me. I hope she knows she's growing and reaching and achieving. I hope it feels good.
I hope she knows, just like I do, that it's been an amazing year. "Pretty good" falls short.
It seems impossible that I've only loved her for six years. Happy almost birthday to my sweet, sweet girl.